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The experienced Benzini and the up-and-coming Chocante will be out to uphold New Zealand’s reputation in the staying ranks at Eagle Farm.

The pair will contest Saturday’s Group Three Premier’s Cup (2200m) as a prelude to the Group Two Brisbane Cup (2400m) on June 10 won last year by Benzini.

The seven-year-old was withdrawn from the Doomben Cup on Saturday because of the wet.

“We didn’t want to run him on a heavy track,” owner Adrian Bull, who trains the gelding with his son Harry, told NZ Racing Desk.

“He’s done well and we’re happy with him.”

Benzini ran sixth in the Hong Kong Vase at the International meeting in December and has since been placed in the Group One New Zealand Stakes and Group Three Canterbury Gold Cup.

The Stephen Marsh-trained four-year-old Chocante is a Group Three winner at home and ran third in the Chairman’s Handicap at Doomben last Saturday week.

“I was rapt. I thought his run was outstanding,” Marsh said. “He’d gone from 1400 to 1600 metres and then up to 2000 at Doomben.

“He was still fresh and pulled a bit so it was a great effort and he’s done an absolute treat since.”

Marsh believes the 2400 metres of the Brisbane Cup will be ideal and he is looking even further ahead.

“We would like to be in Melbourne in the spring for some serious races,” he said.

“It’s not as if he’s having a lot of racing this autumn and he can be on a direct flight back from Brisbane and he won’t need a long time out in the paddock.”

 
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